Breakdown of Relationships

Outline and evaluate Rollie and Duck’s model of relationship breakdown (24 marks)

Stephanie Rollie and Steve Duck (2006) have developed a model of the termination of close or intimate relationships. They were able to break down the process of a breakdown into six points. These are as follows;

  1. Breakdown – One partner becomes increasingly dissatisfied with the relationship. This first process is usually fairly gradual.
  2. Intrapsychic processes – The dissatisfied partner becomes focused on the partner’s faults. They tend to exasperate their flaws to the extent that they may even begin to resent their partner. This leads to further dissatisfaction within the relationship and can lead to social withdrawal.
  3. Dyadic processes – Partners will begin to address and talk to one another regarding their problems. They are likely to make promises to change or state reasons whereby it would not be worth terminating the relationship. This process may inadvertently expose reasons to leave as mutual agreement on terms is not likely.
  4. Social processes – The break-up is aired and made public. This often includes the denigration of the partner and may include scapegoating, whereby each partner attempts to blame the other for the termination.
  5. Grave dressing process – Partners begin to develop their own account of the relationship in order to save face. Stories may be circulated i.e. of betrayal or a lack of effort on behalf of their counterpart. Different stories may be given to different audiences.
  6. Resurrection process – Unlike other theories, this theory gives elaboration upon the reinstatement of a relationship following the termination. This resurrection process is the beginning of a new relationship. Partner prepare for this.

This list is fairly comprehensive and is undoubtably applicable to a real-life scenario, whereby a couple are splitting up. However, as with any theory, there are limits in its ecological validity.